Knowing where to turn after a loved one’s health crisis

Knowing where to turn after a loved one’s health crisis

Right now I’m aware of several neighbors dealing with the sudden health crises of aging loved ones.

Once the short-term crisis is dealt with, they will have to decide where to turn next.

I have seen queries about these types of choices on Nextdoor. And while I love Nextdoor for restaurant recommendations and learning about wild animal sightings or local robberies, I get a bit concerned when subscribers seek recommendations for critical personal support at a time of need.

Most respondents on Nextdoor are well-intentioned, but at the same time their experience may not be the thing your loved one needs. Just as we generally would not ask neighbors to provide advice on a medical issue, what you do and where you go after a loved one’s health crisis can best be served by talking to exp

Dashed plans due to COVID cause stress and anxiety

Dashed plans due to COVID cause stress and anxiety

My husband keeps asking me why I cry at the drop of a hat lately.

I have always been prone to tears when really stressed or when something touches my heart. And I guess that is exactly why I’m crying these days.

For the past three months, my staff and I at Senior Concerns have been preparing for the grand reopening of our Adult Day program on Sept. 1.

With safety as our first priority, we installed a new HVAC system, complete with air purifiers that clean the air at the molecular level. We replaced our 18-yearold pergola to provide shade, and purchased new outdoor furniture to allow for outside activities.

A team of teenage volunteers helped to wash windows.

Other volunteers pitched in to

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

Tell me again, at what point is life supposed to get simpler?

I think I’ve been under some misguided notion that life will get easier as time goes by—at least when it comes to the things I’ve been doing for years.

I’ve been in the workplace for over 44 years, and a homeowner for over 35. That’s a lot of time to repeat activities, learn the ropes and to become a bit wise about some things.

But now more than ever, I feel my attention to detail needs to be spot on for me not to screw things up. Let me tell you about some of things that have become harder.

For starters, hiring an employee. The labor laws are dizzying, and each year brings brand new requirements. For a small nonprofit like ours, just finding a job application that complies with current regulations is a challenge.

Then there’s entering into a contract,

Thieves targeting older women

Thieves targeting older women

Recently I noticed the ATM in my grocery store had been removed. I was a bit baffled by the decision, and a bit annoyed.

The location was convenient. I could combine my shopping trip with banking. One stop, two chores accomplished.

What I did not think about at the time is the safety and security that an in-store ATM offered me. The next closest ATM is in a bank branch, a newer building in the far corner of a shopping center.

A few Sundays ago, around 6 p.m., I parked my car and entered the vestibule of the bank to use one of the two ATMs there. I looked around at my surroundings and realized there wasn’t a soul in sight, no foot traffic or even cars driving by.

Trying to remember a life post-pandemic

Trying to remember a life post-pandemic

I’m hoping my cousin gets the healing she needs this month.

Almost a year after her brother David passed away, she is having a celebration of life for him.

I wrote about Janet in January 2020 in a column titled “A life is changed in the blink of an eye.” Janet had come to help her 60-year-old brother after his cataract surgery. While she was there he fell down the stairs, resulting in spinal cord, back and neck injuries.

Janet spent a good part of 2020 as a caregiver for her brother and her mother during the most challenging of times. After David spent months in a Boston hospital, Janet had him airlifted to a long-term care facility in Texas so they could be near one another.

She moved her mother there, too.

David died in August last year. 

Overcoming reopening anxiety

Overcoming reopening anxiety

After months and months of pandemic public health restrictions, stay-home orders and phased reopenings, the governor lifted the restrictions June 15 and we should come much closer to “normal” soon.

As I check in with my own feelings about this transition, the two words that comes to mind for me are anticipation and anxiety.

I dream of going places. Granted, I have been pretty busy at work this past year and have only traveled from home to work and back. I do remember that when I drove to get my vaccine I passed the agricultural areas of Ventura County and thought how refreshing it was to see something different.

I’m enjoying the anticipation of 

Caregiving course offers training many adults need

Caregiving course offers training many adults need

Like many, I entered the role of caregiver without any preparation.

My husband and I began caring for our elderly neighbors, Fred and Hildy. Over time we were dealing with a dizzying array of doctor visits, personal care needs, and physical and cognitive health issues without any of their family to lean on.

I had a few things going for me. I was compassionate, motivated to help and not afraid to ask questions. The problem was, who should I ask questions of?

Celebrating the family caregiver

Celebrating the family caregiver

Wanda takes pride in the care she provides to her husband, Jim, as he goes through his journey with dementia.

Before COVID, Jim attended the Senior Concerns Adult Day Program. Wanda felt his weekday presence there helped slow the progression of the disease as he engaged in conversation, activities, meals and exercise with others in the program.

In addition, the respite she received during the day helped her feel refreshed when Jim came home and needed more of her time in the evenings. Jim had developed sundown syndrome, a term used to describe a range of behaviors—often including agitation, confusion and restlessness—that occurs during the transition from daylight to darkness.

To comfort her husband, 

Listening to our body when it whispers

Listening to our body when it whispers

Silent whispers from our body come in many forms and may include aches or pains, emotions, gut feelings or just a sense that something is off.

It’s easy to ignore these signs, but by doing so we may be jolted to attention when, at last, our body screams.

Case in point. My Auntie Jean had many signs that something was wrong but waited to act. Thankfully, it did not cost her life. Many others aren’t as fortunate.

Auntie Jean is 85. I always enjoy visiting with her. She has a fun sense of humor, and we actually have a lot in common.

A few months ago she was cleaning the glass on the inside of her front windshield when she felt a sharp pain in her chest. She thought maybe she pulled a muscle and decided to head inside the house to take it easy.

Ethical choices demonstrate respect for others

Ethical choices demonstrate respect for others

I’ve been looking through an ethical lens at some of the COVID-era choices people make.

Have you ever heard the statement, “Do the right thing even when no one else is watching?” That is a statement about ethics.

Ethics are moral principles that govern a person’s behavior; they suggest we do the right thing even when doing the wrong thing is not illegal.

Laws surrounding COVID-19 are sparse. After all, it’s a relatively new phenomenon. Instead, various entities have established guidelines as recommendations on how to act.

Whether or not one conforms to these guidelines has a lot to do with a person’s ethical lens.

Let’s look at some ethical choices during COVID times.